Controversy continues to swirl around an upcoming Universal Pictures feature film after video surfaced of a dog apparently being put in a tough spot during filming.
As we reported yesterday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for a boycott of the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is due in theaters Jan. 27. TMZ.com first released video showing a terrified German shepherd being forced into turbulent water for one of the film’s stunts.
The movie’s Los Angeles premiere, which had been scheduled for this weekend, was canceled, Fox 31 Denver reports.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, author and co-screenwriter W. Bruce Cameron has called the legitimacy of the controversial video into question. The film is based on Cameron’s book of the same name.
Cameron “released a statement describing the video as ‘shocking,’ but casting doubt on the motivation of ‘the people who shot and edited’ the footage, since if ‘something was wrong, why did they wait fifteen months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?,'” THR reports.
“He goes on to parse that it was a ‘mistake’ to attempt to ‘dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay,’ while remarking that, overall, ‘the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot,'” THR reports.
The on-set safety rep for the American Humane Association has reportedly been placed on administrative leave as part of the fallout from the incident.
Cameron adds in his statement: “The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened. The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water — I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked.”